General English

Information & Library Science

  • noun the first draft of a drawing done on paper which can be transferred to larger paintings
  • noun an animated film made by photographing a series of drawings

Media Studies

  • noun a humorous or satirical drawing relating to a topical event and published in a newspaper or magazine
  • noun a strip of drawings, sometimes with captions, that tell a short story and are published in a newspaper or magazine
  • noun an animated film, especially a humorous one intended primarily for children.
  • noun a full-size drawing, often including a large amount of detail, that is done as preparation for a painting or other work of art

Origin & History of “cartoon”

Cartoon comes via French carton from Italian cartone, which meant literally ‘strong heavy paper, pasteboard’ (it was a derivative of carta ‘paper’, which came from Latin charta, source also of English card, carton, chart, and charter). Its meaning was in due course transferred to the preliminary sketches made by artists on such paper, the original and for nearly two centuries the only sense of the word in English; ‘But the sight best pleased me was the cartoons by Raphael, which are far beyond all the paintings I ever saw’, Hatton family correspondence, 1697. Its application to comic drawings in newspapers and magazines began in the 1840s.